Sometimes you can’t trust or rely on the data at hand. Sometimes you have to dig deeper.
Sometimes you can be diverted from purpose by focusing incorrectly.
Case in point:
Yesterday I was having bad-awful issues with Firefox.
My blogging/browsing method involves dragging/dropping tabs for subjects/posts of interest as I surf and research over to my Bookmark Sidebar. I have various folders set up for posts-to-be.
Only the drag-n-drop action was all over the place. Sometimes I could place them where I wanted. Other times they would end up nowhere, or in a way-incorrect location.
It got so bad I started troubleshooting the issue. I disabled add-on extensions one by one, changed themes. Nothing helped.
I’d had something like that happen before with a bug in Firefox so since I was recently bumped to version 3.6.8 I figured that must be the issue.
So I built a whole new, ground-up, portable package of Firefox with a earlier version.
Strangely, the problem persisted.
By now at least an hour had passed. I was getting no-where.
So I stepped back and let my brain relax…ding…could the problem be, literally, at hand?
I disassembled my optical mouse Logitech - LX7 Cordless Optical Mouse and examined it closely. Sure enough. When I turned the top lid over I could see wear had occurred on both of the piano-key like “hammers” that press down on the contact switches attached to the circuit board.
I thought for a moment how I could add some fresh bulk to them…but in a way that was “slick” and thin. Digging through the tech-closet for inspiration I saw a bulk AAA battery pack. It was made of clear thin plastic and had several flat sections. I carefully snipped two tiny “shims” of material and then super-glued them carefully to the worn surface of the mouse-click “hammers”. I then cleaned all the gunk from the innards of the mouse while they dried.
Reassembly was fast and testing found my “click/drag/drop” issue had vanished.
Inspired by that success and laden with leftover plastic I then removed the bulky shell of an old USB 2GB stick I’m using for Ready Boost but that blocks the other free USB port on the laptop. I then made a clear micro-shell with remaining AAA battery cover plastic, barely taller and wider than the USB connecter itself. More super-glue and I now had a sweet, sealed, transparent USB stick cover on to protect the circuit board. And my other USB port is fully accessible again.
Not a bad day….
By the way, since we are talking about data analysis of sorts did you see these?
- CIA Software Developer Goes Open Source, Instead -- Danger Room | Wired.com
- Collaborative Analysis of Competing Hypotheses -- available soon under GPL
I’m wondering how something like this might be able to be leveraged for forensics/incident response/IT Help Desk purposes.
Can’t wait to see the public release.